iPhone Cases Even if you’re not celebrating on the most cutting-edge iPhone model, we still believe your phone should be in a case. Whether you own a brand-new iPhone SE (2nd generation) or an earlier iPhone 7 or 8, a case can increase your phone’s life by blocking scratches, dents, and dings, and some cases can even block a bent phone or a cracked screen. Adding a case also personalizes your iPhone, and some models add useful specialties such as cardholders, waterproof protection, or even extra power.
We can’t tell you what the most suitable case is for every single person, as the selection depends on what you’re looking for. But based on our tests of more than 60 various cases since 2016, when the iPhone 7 was introduced, and my professional expertise reviewing cases since 2011, we’re confident you can get something that will match your needs with our picks.
Best basic case: Smartish Kung Fu Grip
Why it’s great: We know from years of feedback from readers, Nuttertool staff, and even family and friends that most people want a case that’s slim, plainly designed, reliably protective, and inexpensive. That’s why Smartish’s Kung Fu Grip is a superb choice for many people that own an iPhone SE (2nd generation), 8, or 7, or an iPhone 8 Plus or 7 Plus: It’s an easy case that checks all the boxes at an inexpensive price.
The Kung Fu Grip may be a one-piece TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane, a versatile plastic) case. It has only enough given to form it easy to put in, yet it isn’t so loose that the edges pull away—something which will be a drag with inferior cases. The back panel is slightly rough, with a pebbled finish on the sides for an honest grip; it’s just the proper amount of texture, offering extra security while you’re holding the phone without doing the case feel weird or unpleasant.
The iPhone 7 case also gets the tinier details right. Along the bottom edge, holes for the speaker, microphone, and Lightning-connector port give access without giving too much of the iPhone’s body unveiled. The iPhone 7 case covers the volume and the Sleep/Wake buttons while keeping a clicky feel. A tapered, black ring guards the camera(s) and flash, and the lip around the phone’s screen is thick enough to keep the screen from reaching flat surfaces (a film screen protection is included too), without being so tall as to prevent the use of the touchscreen. Smartish declares that air pockets in the corners help consume shock.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: You won’t worry the Kung Fu Grip with a premium iPhone 7 case—it doesn’t look or seem particularly cheap, but it’s also not going to attract attention for its looks. We also don’t love the closure between the back panel and the corner of the case, but that’s just a minor artistic bother.
Best leather case: Apple Leather Case
Why it’s great: If you prefer the look and feel of leather over plastic or silicone, Apple’s iPhone SE Leather Case is the best option. It isn’t as protective as our overall favorite, but we love it anyway. It offers enough coverage to protect against the majority of scuffs and minor drops, and while it’s thin and lightweight, it still has an adequate lip protecting the screen. The Leather Case is available in a handful of rotating, classy color options, and though the lighter colors may show dirt and wear sooner than you might like, one person’s “dirt” is another’s patina, the coveted accumulation of wear and tear that creates a case unique. Most important, though, Apple’s Leather Case just looks and feels great. It’s just like the difference between a hiking boot and a leather dress boot—sure, the hiking boot is more protective and cozy, but if you’re not hiking, forgoing a touch of protection and comfort for style and luxury is sometimes worth it.
Instead of button protectors molded into the leather, the Leather Case has machined aluminum buttons that feel great. There’s no mushiness when you press a button, but rather a crisp (and loud) click. We also love that the case is especially thin and light for a leather model: The smaller version weighs only 17 grams, while the version for the Plus-size iPhones weighs 23 grams—as light as any other truly protective case we’ve tested.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Apple’s Leather Case leaves the bottom edge of your phone exposed, which means that if you drop your phone the wrong way, you could damage the front edge (just below the Home button) or the area around the Lightning-connector port. We wish Apple would add more protection there, but after several generations of this case with a similar design, it doesn’t look like that’ll happen anytime soon. Leather also doesn’t wear as well over time (in terms of durability) as plastic, so if you’re expecting a case to look the same in a year as it did on the first day, no leather case will be the right pick for you.
The thinnest iPhone case we recommend: Caudabe The Sheath
Why it’s great: When it involves cases, some people value thinness in particular else: they need something that creates it feel as if they’re not employing a case but still provides a point of protection. Unfortunately, even the simplest superthin cases we’ve tested don’t protect a phone against anything but scratches, and lots of them simply don’t last—a shortfall often breaks the iPhone 7 case itself. Caudabe’s The Sheath for iPhone SE (2nd generation), 8, or 7 and for iPhone 8 Plus or 7 Plus represents the simplest compromise we’ve yet seen, providing good coverage while remaining impressively thin. the fabric is a smaller amount than a millimeter thick, yet the iPhone 7 case still offers a correct 1 mm lip around the phone’s screen. We also like how tightly tailored the camera, microphone, and flash openings are.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Though The Sheath is thin, it doesn’t compete for the title of “World’s Thinnest iPhone 7 Case.” If you’re trying to find something that really just wraps around the phone to stop scratches, consider Caudabe’s The Veil, which we discuss within the Competition section below. At the opposite extreme, The Sheath doesn’t provide the maximum amount of shock protection as thicker cases—in this category, less protection comes with the territory.
Best wallet phone case: Smartish Wallet Slayer Vol. 1
Why it’s great: For people who need a case that will hold credit and ID cards also as their iPhone, Smartish’s Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 is that the most suitable option. The TPU iPhone 7 case has an integrated three-card wallet that, along side Apple Pay, maybe enough to permit some people to ditch a separate wallet altogether.
The Wallet Slayer’s core elements are very almost like those found on the company’s Kung Fu Grip. The buttons and cutouts are all an equivalent , and therefore the case features a strip of textured material along each side . the most difference is that the molded card holder on the rear , made to accommodate up to 3 credit cards and a few cash.
Unlike other wallet cases we tested for the iPhone SE (2nd generation), 8, or 7, this Smartish case works even as well with one card because it does with three, because of a raised bump under the cardholder that puts pressure on cards and holds them in situ. a little cutout along the sting opposite the wallet opening allows you to easily push cards out as required, but even once we aggressively shook the phone, our cards didn’t fall out on their own. We also appreciate that the Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 exposes less of your cards than the competition—all you’ll see maybe a thumbnail-sized piece of the highest card. The case also comes with a protective screen film.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: other wallet cases are slimmer overall, and—because they need a versatile wallet component—are thinner once you have fewer cards in them. The Wallet Slayer’s rigid wallet means the case remains an equivalent thickness regardless of what percentage cards it’s holding. That said, the Smartish Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 isn’t so large on be cumbersome.
A more protective option: Speck Presidio Grip
Why it’s great: generally, we don’t think you ought to pay quite about $25 for plastic or rubbery case. But if you’re willing to spend more for better drop protection, Speck’s Presidio Grip is that the thanks to going. An evolution of Speck’s venerable CandyShell line (which started way back with the iPhone 3G), the Presidio Grip combines a tough plastic exterior with a skinny, rubber lining and a specially designed border that helps absorb the shock of drops. The Presidio Grip replaces the CandyShell’s scratch-magnet glossy finish with a matte exterior which will likely look tons better over time. The “Grip” within the name comes from the raised rubber ridges on the rear of the case. they assist increase, well, grip, which is vital considering that the Presidio’s matte finish is more slippery than the CandyShell’s glossy surfaces.
he Presidio Grip is 20 percent thinner than its CandyShell-line Grip counterpart, but Speck promises that the Presidio can help your phone withstand drops of up to 10 feet. In our tests, the phone’s buttons remained nice and clicky through the case, and therefore the pronounced lip around the screen is reassuring. We also like Speck’s color schemes, which have slightly offset tones between the case itself and its rubber grips.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Some early customer reviews of the Presidio Grip say that it feels cheap compared with the CandyShell models. Although it’s certainly different, we disagree that it feels inferior—we appreciate that Speck took a well-loved design and tried to try something different with it.
We’ll be keeping an eye fixed on the Grip’s rubber edges, as that has been the weakest component of Speck cases within the past, particularly the strip along the lower front edge, ahead of the Lightning-connector port.
A clear case to show off your phone: Spigen Liquid Crystal
Why it’s great: iPhones look nice! It makes sense that you’d want to show off the design, while also protecting it. Spigen’s Liquid Crystal is our favorite see-through case that allows for both. It’s an extremely simple and totally transparent TPU case. That means it has some more grip than a bare phone and offers a bit of shock absorbency (although there aren’t any air pockets in the corners to provide extra impact protection, as there are on the iPhone 11-series versions).
The Liquid Crystal is totally clear across its entire surface, unlike many competing cases that have some sort of colored or frosted border, making them not totally clear. It’s lined with a series of dots on the inside that prevents the water-splotch look of many earlier see-through cases, but you may still notice a rainbow-like refraction at certain angles. The buttons still click well through the case.
If you want a case that’s a little more protective and can accept less than total transparency, we also like the “Nothin’ to Hide” version of Smartish’s Kung Fu Grip. It’s a version of our favorite basic case, but with a clear back. The main reason it’s not our top pick in this category is that the textured sides look frosted, taking away from the totally clear effect.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: We’ve tested dozens of transparent cases over the past decade, and every single one of them turns yellow over time. Many claim to have an anti-yellowing agent or some other method of preventing discoloration, but we’ve never seen one that doesn’t look at least a little funky after a few months of use. We haven’t had this version of the Liquid Crystal long enough that it’s suffered the same fate, but we expect that it will. The affordable price makes that a lot more bearable.